(photo credit: REUTERS/REBECCA COOK)
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, founder of the World Values Network, faced backlash on Twitter for an ad in Saturday’s New York Times targeting U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for comments she made about Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The full-page ad accused Tlaib of “deceiving America.” It featured a headshot of the congresswoman and quoted her comment:
“Two weeks ago we celebrated – or took a moment I think in our country to remember – the Holocaust. And there’s a kind of a calming feeling, I always tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust and the tragedy of the Holocaust in the fact that it was my ancestors – Palestinians – who lost their land; and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity. Their existence in many ways had been wiped out, and some people’s passports – I mean, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post the Holocaust, post the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that.”
Boteach, whose World Values Network is mandated to disseminate universal Jewish values in politics, culture, and media, rejected Tlaib’s idea that Palestinians provided a “safe haven” for Jews by juxtaposing her comment with historical statistics of hostility towards Jews and massacres of Jewish communities.
The ad immediately caused an uproar on Twitter, initiated by James Zogby, founder of the American Arab Institute.
“This is a dishonest & dangerous assault on @RashidaTlaib by far-right Shmuley Boteach. He funnels dark money into attack ads like this that distort the truth & put people’s lives at risk. It’s not an ad, it’s incitement. Shame on @nytimes for running it. #handsoffRashida,” read the tweet by Zogby.
Some chimed in to support of Zogby’s tweet calling for an apology from Boteach and the New York Times, while others called against Zogby for his attacks on the ad, and accused him of antisemitism.
Boteach eventually joined the Twitter war himself, responding to Zogby’s tweet:
“Thanks James for highlighting our ad. I understand you are extremely uncomfortable w/ Jews who challenge anti-Semites like @RashidaTlaib & would deny our people the right to defend ourselves. What puts lives at risk is the demonization of the Jewish people which all must condemn.”
This is the second full-page ad Boteach has created to condemn antisemitism by congresswomen.
In March, Boteach commissioned an ad in the Washington Post
that compared remarks made by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar to quotes from historically antisemitic texts including "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," "The International Jew,"
and the "White Man’s Bible."
Tlaib has remained silent about the ad. She has not condemned it nor participated in the argument on Twitter.
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